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Cafeteria Tray Picture Frame

Craft & Design Home Photography & Video

CRAFT: Celebrate the Season
By Jennifer Perkins
For baby’s first Christmas you have to do something extra special. I had visions of pictures sitting on Santa’s lap, but alas with a serious crowd aversion and a touch of Swine Flu paranoia I skipped the mall. Instead I decided to deck my daughter Tallulah out in her Christmas duds and stage my own holiday photo shoot at home. My mother Fredda Perkins had whipped up the perfect outfit, complete with kitschy Santa headband so all that was left to do was capture these memories for forever. For a crafter, there is no other medium that says forever quite like casting resin. Cafeteria trays don’t really say forever or Christmas, but when you can find bright red ones they sure do make cute picture frames!

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Cafeteria trays
Easy Cast Clear Casting Epoxy
Vintage wrapping paper
Hair dryer or embossing gun
Digital camera
Liquid fusion glue
Photo quality printer paper


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Step 1: Pictures and Paper:
After you have snapped yourself about a million pictures of your baby, dog, new car — whatever it is you want to frame unload the pictures into your computer. While you are waiting for your camera to unload choose some vintage wrapping paper or holiday images that tickle your fancy. Scan the images into your computer. Using a ruler, measure the slots in your cafeteria tray. In Photoshop, crop your pictures to fit the slots. I opted for 3 pictures of baby and 2 pictures of wrapping paper. Print your images out on thick high quality photo paper. Resin will soak through regular photo paper.
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Step 2: Cut Out Cutie
Once your pictures have printed, cut them out with your scissors. You will need to slightly round the edges of all your pictures to fit inside the slots on most cafeteria trays. Yah, I have more than one kind of cafeteria tray laying around in my studio — are you really surprised? Once you know everything fits like a glove set the pictures aside.
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Step 3: Ready, Set, Resin
Using Easy Cast Clear Casting Epoxy, mix the resin using equal parts and stir super duper well. Pour a base layer of resin in your trays and allow to set up. This step will help your pictures be slightly raised in the tray slots rather than at the very bottom. The resin does not need to be rock hard, but allow it to dry for at least a few hours.
Step 4: Stuck on You
Once your base layer of resin has set, if it is not tacky enough to stick to the back of your photographs, you can add a thin layer of glue such as Liquid Fusion. This will help anchor your photos down so that the corners don’t decide to roll up. Allow the glue to adhere to the resin for a few hours.
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Step 5: Again with the Resin
Mix up yet another batch of resin once your pictures are glued in place. Pour the resin over your photos to the desired depth. When you are done, use a hair dryer or an embossing gun blow the bubbles out of your resin. You might want to come back and check your resin again in 30 minutes or so to make sure more bubbles did not sneak out.

Step 6: Display
Once your resin has totally dried, you can either set these babies on a shelf like I did, attach a picture hanging gizmo to the back so they can hang on your wall. You can also set them on a table top with a small easel.
About the Author:
Author Jenniferperkins
Jennifer Perkins is a the crafty lady at the helm of the blog, book and website Naughty Secretary Club. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband, daughter, 2 large dogs and cat.

4 thoughts on “Cafeteria Tray Picture Frame

  1. Emily says:

    This is really a cute idea! I work for a junior high. I wonder if they have any of those trays available? This is just so clever.

  2. Ladygray says:

    I just love this idea. Where do you get the trays?

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